|Project by Smitty_Cabinetshop||posted 04-10-2011 09:51 PM||4237 views||3 times favorited||16 comments|
It was twenty years ago that the tavern table (poker table, card table, pocket table) shown in the picture above was pulled out of an alley shed set for destruction. Long (early part of this) story short, the top had come apart at the glue joints and was black from the ravages of time and exposure to the elements. I pulled out the table and brought it to my dad’s nearby shop, where I cleaned and sanded the pieces of the top as best I could at the time. I glued it up and clamped it tight, then left the project for a later time. Kudos to my ever-so-patient father for moving it and saving it for the next 18 years, otherwise the story would have ended there.
Fast forward to a time two years ago. I now have a shop and my slide into hand tools has begun as the build of my Roubo workbench is underway. I need something to set the one piece oak slab of my to-be bench onto as I plane away on it with a Sandusky wooden jack. Yes, I claimed the table and used it’s base to set my bench slab on as it got worked up. The table top, over the ensuing months, became a guinea pig for every ‘new’ piece of iron that came in the mail. I practiced traversing, smoothing, jointing and scraping on that bad boy, sad to say, in no particular order. But it did get progressively smoother, and the charcoal gray wood pealed back to reveal a pretty respectable white oak surface.
This spring I needed to make room for a lumber (stuff!) buy and that meant finishing the table to get it ready for sale. Here’s a shot of the inside of the table’s aprons and legs assembly when it came apart. I did this so the legs could be jointed / cleaned up prior to final assembly and finishing.
Here are the legs before re-work.
And a close-up as to why I did what I did to the legs rather than simply stripping them and refinishing.
The jointer was my vintage Craftsman planer/jointer, not a #7 or #8… I love hand planes, but I’m not crazy. Once the tailed apprentice was done with the heavy lifting, I did do some final smoothing. Here it is after assembly, and how I initially intended to list it for sale (final finish up to the buyer).
Then my dad told me he still had a third pocket from the table at his place, and pieces of the fourth and final pocket. About this time the table was destined for my brother-in-law and I was applying final finish myself. I made the missing pieces for the fourth pocket.
I purposely left some character to the top – this table has seen a lot of action (and neglect) in it’s day and deserves the right to retain a few battle scars. It also helps the piece retain an authentic character that can’t be reproduced. It is again seeing action as a card table!
-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive